Today, the White House is hosting a bipartisan meeting on health care reform, featuring President Obama, Congressional Democrats and Congressional Republicans. On MSNBC this morning, RNC Chairman Michael Steele mocked the summit, saying that it is something that should have happened a year ago:
STEELE: This whole dog and pony show that we’re about to witness today is something that should have taken place a year ago when the administration first came in last February and laid out its agenda for health care. This is how you should have started it. Bipartisan. Public forum. CSPAN. Your cameras rolling to capture this and to capture most importantly what the American people want.
Host Chuck Todd immediately pointed out that in fact the White House did host a televised, bipartisan health care forum almost exactly a year ago on March 5, 2009. “Does that one not count?” asked Todd. “Well, apparently it didn’t,” replied Steele, flippantly adding, “because we don’t have health care and we don’t have the reform that everybody’s been talking about.” Watch it:
As Todd noted, last year’s forum included not only legislative leaders, but also “folks from the industry as well.” Steele might not remember it, but the participant list included 15 Republican members of Congress. At the 2009 forum, Obama declared that “in this effort, every voice must be heard. Every idea must be considered. Every option must be on the table. There will be no sacred cows in this discussion.” He added, however that “those who seek to block any reform at any cost will not prevail this time around.”